I spent yesterday afternoon with Alaknanda. She's on great form, having spent some time with Bollywood glitterati, and is full of stories about the new dolls which Mohammed Al-Fayed is launching in Harrods, based on Indian film stars. Apparently he flew them over, with entourage, and put them up at the Ritz with the aim of driving them through the streets in a horse-drawn carriage for the launch..... Meanwhile, UK-based Asian actors are all being auditioned for TV plays about Saddam Hussein, and are being penciled in "for if he gets executed". Judicial murder is big news, clearly. No point making a bio-pic about somebody who just gets life imprisonment.
Alak wants to do Heiner Muller's play Quartet. We've been toying with this for a while, but this time it gets very serious. I think she's really committed to the idea of our working together now she's seen Dis-Orientations. We talk around the piece, and what we could do with it. I don't honestly feel I can commit the company's time to it for a while - we have to get through the next two major projects. On the other hand, this is a two-hander.... Alak is rightly clear that there's no point doing it on the cheap, though - it's a show which needs an amazing design. Also, we need to make it an event - a two-hander by a German playwright perceived as "difficult" won't make any waves here unless we can do something remarkable. Perhaps site-specific. But I do want to do this - it feels so much of the present moment. The aristocrats carrying on with the game, even though they know the apocalypse is just around the corner. Muller said that the play was about terrorism... and that was long before 9/11. "Well, we'll do it 2009" says Alak. Maybe, yes.
The evening at Canning House for Stone Crabs' Origens/ Origins project: Kwong Loke has directed a rehearsed reading of Plinio Marcos' Razor in the Flesh. Very interesting, given my recent thoughts about Brazil. This play was part of the Theatre of Resistance movement in the late 60s: and feels like a precursor to Quentin Tarantino or Calixto, with a bit of Sartre thrown in to remind you it's a 60s piece. Sex, drugs, violence and aging - all between three characters trapped in a room. Sadly, it hits the cliches in its characterisations, and indeed in its portrayal of Brazil - but it's inspiring to know that there's a real tradition of hard-edged theatre there.
We've just set up a new workshop for December 16th. Check the Laboratory blog: http://bordercrossingslaboratory.lastminuteliving.com/